Sunday, March 13, 2011

It’s The Little Things …

I went to a meeting at St Johns High School a few weeks ago, held by Kevin Lamoureux about Crime and Safety. If you don’t know, Kevin Lamoureux is our M.P. for Winnipeg North. He had a guest speaker, who was an X-Police Officer. The guest spoke about issues that people have in their neighbourhoods regarding crimes, and said it was the little things that really affect people, not the major crimes. He talked about the little things, like people cutting through yards, skateboarders, littering, and squeegee people, issues affecting Osborne Village. At first I thought the guy was talking about issues that had nothing to do with the North End. Then I got to thinking, and found he was right. It is the little things, although our little things are different in the North End.
For me, the little things are construction working dumping materials in my dumpster and bulk garbage items being dumped in my lane. Or the garbage truck stopping at the dumpster behind my house, looking at it, and driving on without taking the garbage. Or neighbours partying all night. Or maybe the police visiting “the usual suspects” on my street every few days. And it’s all the City By-Laws that are not being enforced in the North End.
So, the big question is, what can I do about these little things? Well, I can do lots. I can report the illegal dumping of construction material by those people who think they can use the dumpsters in my back lane as their own private Brady Landfill. I can contact 311 and let them know about the illegal dumping, and I can let them know about the bulk items in the back lane, and I can let them know that the garbage truck did not empty my dumpster when it was in my back lane. I actually do this on a daily basis, and I have managed to keep my back lane fairly clear of excess garbage. And my dumpster now gets emptied every Thursday. I could not say that a year ago.
I look at all the little things that bother me, and I have started to make changes in my own part of the North End. And I have been successful. I am slowly working down the list of little things that bother me, and am making small changes, one day at a time. I send an email to to report the issues I see on my street. I like that I get a reference number for each incident I report, and I hold the City accountable to each issue.
As far as the parties that that go on all night long, I call the non-emergency police line, report the incident, and get an incident number. Then I call the landlord and let them know what is happening at their rental property. I have had some success with that problem. Some houses stop partying loudly after midnight, or close their windows so they are not disturbing their neighbours. Other houses take longer, and cause more aggravation. But I continue working with the landlords and the police to remedy those situations as they come along. And Spring is just around the corner, so this issue is going to rear it’s ugly head again. But if I am persistent, I am sure I will have success again this year.
I can’t do much about the Police visits on my street. That is a private matter between the Police and those being visited. But I did read an article in the Free Press last year where problem residences were being dealt with through By-Law infractions. So, I look for By-Law infractions on the houses that have the most Police presence. If the house is run down, windows are broken, eaves are falling off the house, or there is excess garbage in the yard, I report it to 311. My thoughts are, if the people on my block are disrespectful of their neighbours, make noise all night, engage in illegal activities, I would rather they were not on my block. I personally do not care what goes on in the privacy of each person’s residence. But if the issues come out onto the street or the noise keeps me up, I would rather it was not happening on my street.
I have found that we don’t need to join a group, or attend meetings to fix the North End. All we have to do is take care of those few little things we can see from our own yards, and we can all make a difference.
At least that’s the way I see it, on my one block in the North End.

1 comment:

  1. I have also been thinking of spring. I can't wait to get into my garden!

    But the screaming and yelling that come with warm weather is a real pain. I am going to post the non-emergency police # by my bedside phone and use it more this year.

    Just keep plugging away and at least we don't feel like we are helpless, because we are not.

    This also means that I will have to put up with more slow moving cars on my street. When I first moved here I thought they were all lost. It took me a while to figure out they were looking for girls. This year my trusty pad and pencil will be by the door for license #. I am thinking that starting a website where I can list the "john's " license plates might be an idea. Or maybe take pictures of the plates and the girls getting into the trucks would work. Something to think about. It depends how much they annoy me this year or how much lip I get from the "ladies". What a mouth on some of them. They don't seem to like it when I stop for a chat.

    I guess pointing out that they are plying their trade in front of an apartment block full of kids and it is time for the children to get picked up by the school bus is a bad thing.

    Go figure!

    Have a great, floodless spring everyone.